LA Times business reporter Ken Bensinger and tech beat colleague Andrea Chang take a look this morning at the amateur detective work conducted on Twitter, Reddit, 4chan, Facebook and beyond this week in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings. Their conclusions are not pretty:
This watershed moment for social media quickly spiraled out of control. Legions of Web sleuths cast suspicion on at least four innocent people, spread innumerable bad tips and heightened the sense of panic and paranoia.
“This is one of the most alarming social media events of our time,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a media studies professor at the University of Virginia. “We’re really good at uploading images and unleashing amateurs, but we’re not good with the social norms that would protect the innocent.”